A Tribute To My Father

by Patrick Liew on June 14, 2012

I want to share with you about my Papa (father). We had a wonderful relationship, memories of which I will never forget for the rest of my life.Papa worked 364½ days on almost every year.

… I don’t remember Papa applying for leave, falling ill, or taking time off from work. He had to work very hard to support our large family and keep all of us alive.

Papa only stopped work for the family reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. That was also the time when Papa would give the same speech every year.

The theme of the message, “Papa worked hard so that our family can be united and be happy together”.

In a traditional Chinese family home, we don’t express our feeling explicitly for each other or hug one another. However, I knew Papa had a special love for me.

He thought highly of me – more than I did for myself. He wanted me to have everything that he dreamed about but could not have in his life.

Papa and I spent many great moments together.

I remember having many breakfasts with him at a run-down coffee shop. He would sit me down and then disappear into the kitchen.

He would reappear with two bowls of my favourite food. He wanted to give the impression that he had personally cooked them just for me.

I would play along for the fun of it.

Papa was a friendly person and he made friends easily. He was also known to have a great sense of humour.

Within seconds, Papa could befriend anybody. He could make the person laugh, and bond with him.

Papa lived a hard life. He had to struggle to make a living for us.

I never realized it until I went to work with him one day.

Papa was a lorry driver and had to go through great difficulties loading different goods. He had to drive non-stop except for lunch to as far away a place as Penang and then drive back with new goods.

Along the way, he would be harassed by his bosses, colleagues and customers. He was abused by many corrupted policemen who wanted a part of the meager earnings he made per trip.

When he was older, Papa became a taxi-driver. He worked on both day and night shifts to put food on our table.

He even learned more than 8 languages and dialects on his own. He did it so that he could win favour from more customers – and all because he wanted us to have a better life.

One evening, I saw Papa parking his car from the window of our HDB flat. He was walking with a limp and was almost dragging his injured feet across the ground.

That day, Papa had an accident. He did not see a doctor because he did not want to ‘waste’ money on himself.

Since that day, Papa walked with a limp. He did his daily chores and lived with the inconvenience throughout his life.

I swore to myself that I would give Papa a good life. I planned to do many special things for him.

I would buy him anything that he wanted. If I could, I would do anything that would make him happy.

After my studies, I served my National Service. My soldier’s pay could barely support myself.

I could not do much for Papa and I did not have much time to spend with him

After my stint in the army, I went to work in the private sector. Like my Papa, I worked very hard to climb the career ladder.

I would spend my evenings attending courses to improve myself. The rest of the time were spent doing homework and “catching up with life”.

I spent very little time with Papa.

Deep in my heart, I told myself, someday things would change.

Everything I planned to do for Papa would come true.

“Wait for me Papa,” I told myself.

One day, I went on a business trip to Jakarta. That afternoon, the phone rang.

My mother was crying on the line. She said, “Your Papa had a heart attack. He passed away.

“He’s no longer with us. He’s gone forever.”

I went on my knees in the hotel room.

I cried and I cried…and for a long time.

I was screaming, “Papa!…Papa!…Papa!…”

My Papa has gone.

I could never have a chance to tell him I love him.

I wanted to hug him but I couldn’t do it anymore.

I could no longer do anything with and for him.

I ran out of time.

Why am I sharing this story with you?

There are many things that you always wanted to do. Please do it now.

You believe that there will always be time. How do you know? Do it now.

You have always wanted to draw closer to your father. You have wanted to tell him, “I love you”.

Do it now – before it is too late. Do it before you run out of time.

Please do it before Father’s Day on June 17.

Happy Father’s Day!


P/S: My family decided to have a short funeral. We were too shocked to inform everybody.

We had placed just a small notice in the obituary column.

However, the funeral was packed with people.

Many told me they knew my Papa for only a short period of time. Papa somehow touched their lives.

They felt they must make their way to the funeral and see him for the last time. Many had tears in their eyes.

That evening, I could feel their respect for Papa.


Thank you for being my Papa. I will never forget your love.

I miss the times we spent together.

My heart still aches for you.

I will continue to share about you even though it tears my heart apart every time I do it. I hope your story will continue to touch more lives.

I look forward to the day when we will meet again in heaven.

I love you.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

Visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Powered by Facebook Comments

{ 1 comment }

brownie June 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for sharing this story with me. I teared a little when reading this entry because I felt that I can relate to this story so much. My father don’t want to spend money on himself because he felt that he can save this money up for other use. I’m halfway through reading this entry and I felt that I have to comment now because I want to pen down the existing feeling I had. I will continue reading the other half now. Have a blessed Saturday!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: